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Key witness backs Ecclestone in bribery trial

Key witness backs Ecclestone in bribery trial

The British Bernie Ecclestone, head of Formula 1, received the support of a key witness today in the trial he faces in Munich for the alleged payment of bribes.
F1Financial investor Donald MacKenzie, co-founder of the fund that has the commercial rights of Formula 1 (CVC), assured that Ecclestone never required him to continue to lead the premier category of the motor, thus putting into doubt one of the budgets of the Prosecutor’s Office.
“Ecclestone just said it in his own way: ‘If they want me, then I could be available,” MacKenzie said in court in Munich.
His statement goes against what the German Prosecutor’s Office maintains, which accuses Ecclestone of having paid the then manager of the German semi-public bank BayernLB Gerhard Gribkowsky a bribe of $ 44 million to sell his participation in Formula 1 to CVC. In return, the British would have secured the position.
However, MacKenzie said today that for Ecclestone his own future had no role in the negotiations. “We showed him a service contract in which he never showed any interest and did not negotiate,” he explained. In his opinion, for him it was “rather indifferent.”
According to a series of witnesses, BayernLB was then satisfied to have found a buyer for its majority in Formula 1. CVC ended up paying more than 800 million dollars in the end and Ecclestone continued to lead the Formula 1 business .
However, the trial threatens the reign of the British. MacKenzie has previously made clear that Ecclestone will have to leave if convicted by the German court.
According to MacKenzie, CVC ended up paying a high price for the business. In his opinion, the German bank negotiated well through Gribkowsky and made CVC fear that there were other stakeholders willing to pay more money for the majority stake.
“Now I know there was no other offer and I see the matter with a bit of professional shame,” he said. Gribkowsky behaved like an investment banker. He was arrogant and very self-confident, “he added.
The bank is now claiming compensation from the British under the assumption that they could have received more money from the sale if the two men had not previously agreed.
Gribkowsky was sentenced in 2012 for corruption and tax evasion to a jail term of eight and a half years, after admitting to receiving money from Ecclestone during the sale of the bank’s Formula 1 stake.
The German, who already testified the first days of the trial, will sit on the bench again on August 14 in a judicial process that was extended this week by one month until mid-October by the president of the court, Peter Noll. If Ecclestone is found guilty, he could face 10 years in prison.

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